Island Heights

Historical   Site




Island Heights Yacht Club 


    On July 28, 1898 about thirty summer residents agreed to form a Yacht Club and for that purpose assembled at the house of Charles Webb (the white house across from the present club house).

    In August of the same year the by-laws and constitution of the Island Heights Yacht Club were adopted.  The objectives of the Yacht Club were, "to promote yachting and rowing, and to foster athletic sports upon the water."  Dues were three dollars for active members and two dollars for junior members.  Women were permitted to join in 1899 when an amendment was passed that allowed a ladies auxiliary to be formed.  However, women were unable to pay dues or hold office.

    On April 7, 1900 the Club was incorporated in the State of New Jersey.  Riparian rights were purchased at the foot of Oak Avenue from Thomas Perrine for one hundred dollars. Construction on the clubhouse began and the facility was ready for the summer of 1900.  The building was financed by 4% bonds purchased by members.  The club house was completed and furnished for $3,500.00. 

    Inter-club races with Bay Head and Seaside Park Yacht Clubs began that year. Spectators often went to these races in chartered railroad trains that left from the Island Heights train station on River Avenue.  As the racing schedule expanded, Island Heights became a charter member of the Barnegat Bay Yacht Racing Association in 1914.  The Club has traditionally sponsored the 4th of July race and for many years ran the Wanamaker races off the Wanamaker Camp at the east end of Island Heights.

    Over the years the Yacht Club has undergone many alterations of its facilities.  The original club house was constructed on pilings in the river.  The clubhouse size was doubled in 1901 with the addition of a north wing.  In the 1930's a kitchen was added to accommodate the men's dinner to honor the skippers of each season.

    In recent years the Yacht Club has met its stiffest challenge.  The club house built over water was unique, but this unusual feature was to become a liability.  The pilings solid for over fifty years, finally gave in to worms and rot. The building was jacked up, the pilings replaced and a bulkhead and fill were placed around the facility.  An upstairs enclosed porch has been added.

    The latest problem to be solved was created by the advancing technology of yacht racing.  Small boat racing advanced beyond wet sailing.  Boats no longer were moored in the river, bottoms to be cleaned on Friday and raced on Saturday and Sunday. Boats are dry sailed and this required land storage for trailers and boats.  The membership has met this challenge with difficulty because it lacks space for land storage.

    The Yacht Club has also constructed a large enclosed marina for its larger racing auxiliary fleet.  This fleet is extremely active and races the entire summer on a down bay course. In 1989 the Yacht Club is making plans to increase both its land storage areas and also to expand its marina. 

    While the emphasis of the Club is yacht racing, members also have an active social calendar.  Dances and dinners are held on a regular basis.  Both the Ladies Auxiliary and the junior members have active organizations with elected officers and social functions.  

    The Island Heights Yacht Club has 211 regular members and 52 junior members in the 1989 calendar year, and its budget exceeds $100,000 per year.

    The future of any Yacht Club lies with its junior members.  Island Heights organized the first junior sailing program in the 1950's with the purchase of 20 Clarke Duck Boats.  The fleet was replaced with Parrine built Diamonds, which were later replaced with Duck Boats built by David Beaton.  Today the program has about 30 active sailors with 3 or 4 instructors.  

    Island Heights Yacht Club's racing history really begins with the boat built in 1907.  The yacht named the I.H.Y.C. was built to serve two functions.  The racing for the Morgan and Sewell Cups for cat boats on Barnegat Bay and the races for the Schermerhorn Challenge Cup.  The Schermerhorn Cup was open to sloops of organized amateur yacht clubs in the State of New Jersey.  Thus the I.H.Y.C. was designed to accommodate two rigs, cat and sloop.  Fortunately for cat boats the I.H.Y.C. was never rigged for cat boat sailing because she may have made the A-Cat boats of the 1920's we know on the Bay obsolete.  The boat was primarily built for the Schermerhorn Cup because Ocean City Yacht Club, the donator of the Cup, had built for this purpose a new racing yacht of light fast design.  Barnegat Bay had no sloops designed specifically for racing because this locality was used for catboat racing.

    The Annual Meeting at the club house in 1907 was replete with lengthy discussions about the creation of a boat to compete for the Schermerhorn Challenge Cup.  Charles D. Mower, a naval architect, later to become famous for his designs of A-Cats, 17 Atlantic Cat Boats and G Sloops submitted plans for the I.H.Y.C.  The cost of the boat was to be underwritten by a private syndicate of club members.

    The boat was built by Eliah Townsand.  She was made of light weight Jersey Cedar.  Her length was 32 feet with a beam of 10 feet.  The-I.H.Y.C. resembled the Class E Scow of today, having double bilge boards amidships and twin rudders. She also had a hollow mast, an unusual feature for Barnegat Bay.  Her bottom was kept smooth with sat block, a messy but effective racing finish.  She was gaff rigged with a jib and could carry a large spinnaker.

    The skipper and crew were chosen from the Club membership.  Dr. A. L. Mulford was selected as her captain. Later Dr. Mulford was to captain a cup defender to be built by a Philadelphia syndicate for the America's Cup. Unfortunately World War I scuttled the syndicate's plans. The crew was well trained in the art of sandbagging her ballast, reefing her enormous mainsail and handling the spinnaker.  The skipper and crew trained week day evenings after getting off the Camden train at the old Island Heights train station. 

    The I.H.Y.C.'s active sailing career began in the summer of 1908 and she remained undefeated until World War I forced the cup into retirement in 1917. 

    In more recent years the Club has been privileged to have a member who created two racing classes.  Howard V. Siddons both built and designed the Barnegat 17 and the Jet 14.   Recent sailors who have contributed to both the National and International field of racing are the late Cal Engle and Mark Culpepper who won National Jet 14 Championships, and Charles Horter who won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Kiel, Germany, in 1972.

    Island Heights Yacht Club has gained a reputation for organizing and managing national and international regattas over the last several decades.  The Jet 14 and Ensign Nationals have been sailed from our Club, as well as the Albacore Worlds.  The E Sloop Easterns have also been sailed here.  The Club has sponsored Comet and Snipe territorial regattas as well as a junior race week for our bay sailors.  

Written by Don Bottomley in 1989, IHYC historian until 1998, reprinted with his permission.

 Island Heights Yacht Club Perpetual Trophies

Rodman Wanamaker Trophy - A Cats - 1922

Rodman Wanamaker Trophy - E  Sloops - 1922

Atkinson Cup - E Sloops - 1925

Turner Trophy - Auxiliaries Class A - 1938

Jack Wright Cup - 1941

Horter Cup - Juniors - 1951

Brown Jug - IHYC vs. TRYC - 1956

J. Wellington Chops Bowl - Junior Program - 1956

Ernest D. Hangarter Trophy - Sneakboxes - 1960

Barnegat Bowl - Auxiliary Team Race - 1966

Ensign Trophy - Ensign - 1971

Corinthian Trophy - Auxiliaries Class A - 1980

Manhasset Trophy - Auxiliaries Class B - 1980

Parisi Trophy - Auxiliaries Class C - 1980

IHYC Perpetual Trophy - Ensigns - 1981

Martin Perpetual Trophy - Junior Invitational - 1981


Past Commodores of the Island Heights Yacht Club

1898-1900  -  Charles Webb

1901            -   Robert Shoemaker, Jr.

1902-1903  -  J. Harvey Gillingham

1904             -  Theodore J. R. Brown

1905             -  F. A. Downs

1906-1907  -  J. Harvey Gillingham

1908-1909  -  John C. McAvoy

1910             -  A. W. Atkinson

1911             -  John Lucy

1912              -  A. W. Atkinson

1913-1914   - E. L. Lloyd Jr.

1915             -  A. W. Atkinson

1916             -  Robert W. Schofield

1917-1918  -  Charles L. ILL

1919-1920  -  Albert H. Graf

1921-1923  -  T. Bernley Brooks

1924-1927  -  A. W. Atkinson

1928-1944  -  Benjamin Adams

1945-1947  -  Edward Wilson

1948-1950  -  Philip Reynolds

1951            -  George Nelson

1952            -  William DeW. Horrocks

1953-1955  -  Frederick A. Slack Jr.

1956-1957  -  Donald C. Horter

1958            -  William M. Wood

1959-1961  -  George Hummel

1962-1963  -  Frederic C. Grigg

1964-1966  -  Justus C. Brick

1967-1969  -  Leonard P. Egee

1970-1971  -  Robert D. Byrnes

1972           -  Frederick A. Slack III

1973-1974  -  James T. Reynolds

1975-1976  -  Harry Applin Jr.

1977           -  Robert Engle

1978           -  Richard C. Morrison

1979           -  Stephen A. Tyler

1980           -  Charles E. Franksen

1981           -  Ernest V. Bencivenga

1982           -  Stephen M. Zwarg

1983           -  Bryan Warman Jr.

1984           -  John Huston Jr.

1985           -  Robert A. Morrison

1986           -  Charles J. Horter

1987           -  Robert F. Schmicker

1988-1989  -  Robert R. Wightman

1990           -  William T. Hummel

1991           -  Harry M. Spaeth Jr.

1992           -  Frederick L. Rosenfeld

1993           -  Robert F. Lostrum

1994           -  Jack H. Tabor

1995-1996  -  Michael Frankovich

1997-1998  -  Leonard P. Egee

1999          -  Philip Reynolds

2000           - Arthur Bailey

2001           -  Nola Grenley